Tag Archives: Neighbourliness

A bad mistake

I didn’t make the call!

In my recent posts, I mentioned somewhere that I live in a small estate (20 Bungalows). A quiet estate that I have called home for almost 39 years. I quickly learned the names of all the residents, those who spoke to me, those who tolerated me and those who chose to ignore me.

It would have been considered a ‘proddy’ town thirty nine years ago, and everyone seemed to be related. At the height of the troubles, having a strong southern brogue was worse than a dose of the plague. Anyone with a southern accent was considered to be Roman Catholic and a member of the IRA.

Jack had lived here since the houses were built forty six years ago and I joined him in a ready made home, seven years later. We were blissfully happy. I remember saying to him a few times, that it was a good job I loved him so much, because had I not done so, I would be gone long ago. Not because of anything he did, but because of the way some people including neighbours, had treated me. The strange thing was that the people who treated me badly, were not behind the door when they wanted help or to make use of my skills!

That is all past now and As of today, our house is the only one with the original family name. I am now the longest resident. Not the oldest, but the longest.

There was one man who never spoke to me in all the thirty nine years. He would speak to Jack and totally ignore me, I was invisible to him. He was a peculiar character, had very gifted hands for woodwork, he made ladders, tables and bird boxes. He regularly had arguments with his neighbours and at times was rather a recluse.

This man lived around the corner from me, directly opposite my friend who had her hip replaced. In her absence I called to her house each day to move the post, leave back freshly washed clothes collect other items she required etc. All the while I noticed the blinds on the windows opposite were never opened. No sight of the man who lived there.

I asked my friend when I visited her when she last saw him. She could not remember.

“He is often in there and does not open the blinds or appear for days at a time”. She said. I let it go.

A week later I mentioned it to two different neighbours who lived closer than I did. Neither had seen him for some time. I should have phoned the PSNI (Police Service for Northern Ireland) at that point, but because he chose to have nothing to do with me. I let it go.

If he was there and knew I had called the police there would be hell to pay for interfering. I let it go.

My questions must have disturbed the people I shared my concerns with. They asked others and the answers were all the same.

Today two male neighbours tried ringing the bell and knocking on the door. No reply. They went around to the back of the house but there was no sign of him. They finally phoned the PSNI.

The PSNI had to break down the door to gain entry.

He was lying dead in the living room. There was a bundle of untouched mail lying in the hallway. As yet, I have no idea how long he has been lying there.

In today’s world, we are inclined to live in our own bubble of busyness and not give time to check on the frail elderly, particularly those living alone.

Perhaps…

Perhaps we should all adopt an elderly person to check up on… particularly in the cold weather.

None of us are getting any younger, and it would be nice to think that someone would check up on us when we are frail old and cold!